Janathon Day 30 Is this normal? He used to be such a lovely lad!

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Cambridge parkrun’s 6th anniversary. Fancy dress and a Bake Off competition. We definitely love having our picture taken at Cambridge (big time). For example, this week we have three main albums of photos totaling around 900 snaps. See Cambridge parkrun Facebook page here Cambridge parkrun Facebook

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Today we had 475 runners in rain free, relatively mild weather combined with muddy paths and lots of puddles.

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This vision in red is our good friend Kerry wearing his sub 23 minutes top. He’s currently sub 22 minutes (Grrrr!) not that it matters, of course, since parkrun is a run not a race (the results page is just for reference).

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Only about 200 metres to the finish where there are plenty of people to applaud her.

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The quick lads wait while Mike finishes his cup of coffee. Fair enough! If they insist on being disgustingly fast, it’s only fair they pay some kind of penalty. I offered to buy Mike another coffee before he blew the horn but he graciously declined.

All in all a great morning topped off by coffee with friends. I didn’t feel well enough to run but I did take photos. In the evening I went for a two mile brisk walk and listened to BBC Radio 4 podcasts – Woman’s Hour and Last Word. Note to self : remember not stare at the pavement lost in thought when walking in the dark or risk jumping out of your skin when someone suddenly looms up in front of you.

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Janathon Day 9 We’re gonna be famous for 15 seconds!

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A very enjoyable Cambridge parkrun this morning. We had a record 504 runners and BBC Look East came along and filmed the whole proceedings. This picture shows our mate Kerry (who ran his 100th today) being interviewed by Jonathan Park. Kerry’s standing by a supply of cakes and a photo montage of Kerry centred pictures. Just out of shot is a couple of hundred drooling runners being held back by volunteers and gagging to devour the confectionery.

The run was very muddy, as anticipated, but the weather held. No rain and surprisingly mild. The camera man and interviewer Jonathan (who also ran) were very friendly and to blended in comfortably with everyone. They appeared to take possibly ninety minutes of film which might be edited down to a few minute or less. We’ll know on Monday evening when it’s scheduled to air. Hopefully it won’t feature me running with my mouth open and looking as if I’m about to collapse (my default appearance).

We tend to mark 50th, 100th and 250th runs as well as significant parkrun dates, and birthdays, with cakes at Cambridge. We also tend to take a lot of photos. Are we narcissistic? Obviously! Do the majority of other parkruns do this? Hopefully!

After the run we queued in the cafe and then enjoyed a lovely cup of coffee to further reward ourselves in good company. Next week, we’re off to Wimpole parkrun (cancelled today because of water logging)to celebrate their 3rd anniversary. For more of the same.

Perusing my wood pulp hard copy edition of that middle class, bleeding heart liberal, wooly, comfortable, arm chair lefty Guardian newspaper, I came across  an article :

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/jan/08/church-of-england-fears-talks-on-gay-rights-could-end-global-anglican-communion

It discusses the high degree of likelihood of continuing fundamental disagreement in the world wide Anglican communion over gay rights and same sex marriage. As a humanist, I can only continue to marvel at the intrinsic lack of humanity, wilful ignorance and vicious, self serving prejudice in an organisation whose mission statement has something to say about love, tolerance, inclusion and diversity. And there you have it! It doesn’t say that sexuality is on a spectrum, varies within that spectrum for many of us and is often a biological imperative. So centuries old prejudices and sexual fears and anxieties are maintained and justified supernaturally. The church, with the clear conscience of the self righteous, can condemn and preside over the persecution of anyone outside of their definition of God approved sexuality. I think it would be more useful to return to the old, less cruel practice of estimating the number of angels who could stand on the head of a pin!

Sermon over.

I think these summit delegates would benefit from going for a 5k run before they begin to pontificate.

Janathon Day 4

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Impressively, Lorna chose not to utilise her new culinary skills accrued through watching The Great British Bake Off, Master Chef, Delia and Nigella stuff and all the cookery shows which comprise every other programme on all channels. The tray bake clearly turned against her! It tasted good but I had to severely mark it down for presentation. Thank God for Waitrose (or was it Tesco) who saved the day and provided some cakes to celebrate my 250th parkrun some while ago.

Just another two mile run today. The weather remains spookily mild in Cambridge and I ran in shorts and a short sleeved top. I felt more energetic than yesterday and covered the same distance in a minute less.

My new head torch should arrive tomorrow although I won’t wear it if I go running with the club in the evening. I’m bound to feel self conscious because I’ve never used one before. Will people crowd around me and steal my light?  If I’m a source of illumination, will I be regarded as wise? Should I wear it in the daylight to avoid these problems? Should I go to sleep now? Definitely.

 

Alive and Running November 9 2014

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Ooohhh…..look at this! A lovely chocolate cake with a cherry filling brought to my door by Elaine, friend and benefactor of my proposed  therapeutic gardening  project. And very tasty it was, too. Yesterday, a running pal confirmed she is willing to be a trustee (contingent on what that role entails) and has gardening experience. Ms Alive and Running is putting together a website, Green Minds, and I’ll create a full photographic record of the development of the project. I should hear whether or not I require planning permission this coming week.

Cambridge parkrun was very slippery yesterday. There were at least 3 fallers who couldn’t continue (including a woman who broke her ankle). We are lucky at Cambridge because, more often than not, we have one or two medics taking part and will assist or advise if they can. I want to reassure blog readers immediately that I emerged unscathed. I was able to leap over the fallen and my running stride wasn’t seriously impaired.

My times are not back to normal but I ran better than last week and remained upright. Didn’t wear trail shoes, will next week if there’s further rain. I also did some serious, heavyweight socialising with running chums and spent 50% of my chat quotient for this month.

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Cambridge junior parkrun today. 130 children, aged 14  and under took part in the 2k run. No injuries reported and it all went very well. Weather was good. The overcast sky cleared and it warmed up. Afterwards we enjoyed a tasty cup of coffee.

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I have a new fascination – mycology, the study of fungi and their properties. Ms Alive and Running and I spent nearly two hours with a group of like minded, friendly people (including amateur mycologists) scouring Worts Meadow and adjacent  woodland for innocent, I’m-just-minding-my-own-business fungi which were promptly prised  out of the ground and into a trug for later investigation. It’s not edgy, it’s not rock and roll, it’s not as cool as Steve McQueen in The Great Escape but it was relaxing, mindful, interesting and adds a new dimension to walking in the wood with Rupert the dalmatian. Couldn’t identify the yellow fungi but other example are shaggy parasols which are edible (apparently).  I might cook some up for my arch running rivals as a treat.

Aliveandrunning October 20 2014

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A Porter cake made with Guinness and a banana cake with dates and nuts. I baked these for my 200th parkrun on Saturday at Cambridge. I’m the first Cambridge person to get to 200 and fellow runners finally had incontrovertible evidence that they had a senior running god among their number When my milestone was announced at the address by the run director, a huge cheer went up, men avoided direct eye contact out of deference and women fainted with excitement. The crowd appeared dazed and unfocussed. Luckily for them I kept my head and led them, stunned, to the start line. As soon as the air horn started the race they snapped out of it. Outrageously, 135 people reached the finish line before me thus creating a huge disrespect issue. Consequently, none of my cake passed their lips! All the more for runners who were able to persuade me they came in after position 137.

The  woodland path course was muddy in places and the going was soft. It was also surprisingly warm for October. All these factors ensured I didn’t dip below 24 minutes as I did last week. I also suspect that my forward progress was impeded by the celestial breath of a mischievous Greek god but it’s notoriously difficult to prove. Still, the cake went down well and people said kind things. Onwards and upwards to parkrun 250 when I will receive a hoodie and tee shirt and further adulation.

In the afternoon I went for a walk, with friends and others, on the National Trust Wimpole Hall Estate. Very enjoyable and it gave me an opportunity to rescue a few books languishing in the Courtyard second hand bookshop. I don’t take this level of responsibility lightly. Someone has to step up to the plate. These books were heavily traumatised and are currently undergoing debriefing. It’ll be sometime before they can sit on my bookshelf, feeling at home and relaxed.

 

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Started half marathon training yesterday. I ran for 1 hour 2 minutes in the afternoon when I thought my big bowl of porridge was sufficiently digested but my stomach still felt a bit queasy at times. St. Neots half in 4 weeks and a 10k Bonfire Burn in 2 weeks.

I’ve just sent off a request for pre-application advice for planning permission concerning my proposed therapeutic gardening project. This should result in an allocation of a named person to guide me through the process and determine whether or not I will will require planning permission. I’m arranging to visit a horticultural project in Saffron Walden (not too far from the excellent Oxfam bookshop) and I’m wading through the requirements to set up a charity. This means I will have to up my level of focus and concentration.

Could rant about the latest human rights violations perpetrated by the Catholic Church (recent small payments for abused boys attending a seminary decades ago and the cardinals watering down a more accepting text on recognising and welcoming gay people into the church). But I won’t at the moment. I’ll save it

 

 

Aliveandrunning October 16 2014

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An innocent bowl of porridge you might think, and you’d be right. I mix in raisins and sprinkle cinnamon and nutmeg on the top. It’s delicious and I’m sure it does me no end of good. But yesterday was a dark day indeed. I unwittingly put garam masala on my porridge instead. My first mouthful was my last! I took a leaf out of the footballers’book when they want to convince us they’ve been fouled. I threw myself to the floor and rolled over and over convulsively as if I had ingested cyanide. Ms Alive and Running, who didn’t at that point appreciate the trauma I had undergone, asked if I had inflicted a paper cut on myself again. I really suffer for my porridge habit.

Running with Cambridge and Coleridge running club a couple of nights ago. We ran 1k x 5 times with 3 minute breaks with 2k in  warm ups and getting to the circuit. It’s very different running in the dark and riskier in terms of upping the chances of ricking your foot. But I like it. I’ve never fallen in the dark but I do tend to fall in the daylight possibly because I’m not concentrating sufficiently. This happens about 2-3 times a year. I’m due for a fall now. I may indulge in a bit of hubris because, as we all know, pride comes before a fall.

Cambridge parkrun this coming Saturday and it’ll be my 200th! I started at parkrun no.6 at Cambridge in 2010 after I finished the Addenbrookes Hospital cardiac rehabilitation course (which was precipitated by my heart attack in August 2009). I’ve done most of my runs at Cambridge and I’ll be the first of the regular runners to reach 200 (and hopefully 250, when I’ll receive a special tee shirt with magic powers from parkrun central and a congratulatory card from the Queen). Tomorrow I’ll bake a cake or two to eat with pals after the race.

In just over two weeks I’m doing the Bonfire Burn 10k at Histon. A couple of years ago this race was the occasion of the worst weather I have ever run in. It was very cold with a ferocious  wind and driving rain. The race was delayed and I was under dressed for the elements. I nearly abandoned the race after 2k but then I started to feel a little better and finished it. St. Neots half marathon is in 4 weeks and I started training today and ran for 45 minutes. Running motivation is reduced at the moment but after 20 minutes I physically felt much better and began to enjoy it.

When I go to the checkout at Tesco, I try to chose someone who doesn’t slavishly follow the Tesco scripted conversation ( I went to a Morrisons recently and the check out person looked around 80. She didn’t greet me, scanned the items quickly and gave the impression she had a life outside of serving supermarket sheep like me. How refreshing.) Anyway, back to Tesco. I went to someone I could regularly rely upon to be less than politically correct about her employer and difficult customers. She immediately gave thanks for only having another 55 minutes before she toddled off home. She made several derogatory remarks about the odd behaviour of previous customers and then gave me a flamboyant master class in how to open those pesky Tesco flimsy carrier bags. Having demonstrated the knack, and with  other waiting behind me, she handed me an unopened bag and said “Now you do it”. Folding her arms, she proceeded to watch me. Possibly it might be easier to go to go to a script compliant person next time.

The Conservative Party. What a bunch of shits, bigots and unpleasant, unkind people.

 

Aliveandrunning October 12 2014

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Record number of children  (138) at Cambridge junior parkrun today! It was chilly but dry with some sun. The weather gods clearly  favoured us! Well, that’s what I would expect after I offered a libation (Chateau Haut-Plaisance Saint-Emilion Grand Cru), extracted from Tesco’s deepest wine vaults and delivered by a uniformed courier who only spoke a dead language. He fainted when I poured it straight onto the parkrun course ground! We dragged him away before the children clocked him (don’t worry, he recovered completely). As usual, the children and everyone else involved with the race greatly enjoyed themselves. This is a quick snap of the warm up session which they followed with considerable attention and gusto.

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I haven’t been running very frequently in recent weeks but perhaps less is more. I was pleased with my parkrun time yesterday and generally I have felt less tired. This is my pal Kerry who is almost in his mid 60s and only started running 2 years ago. Amazingly his PB for parkrun (5k) is 21 minutes 40 seconds and he’s still improving. Yesterday was his 50th parkrun and he equalled his PB. It’s ridiculous. I’m going to organise an anonymous on line petition to get him banned for life on  grounds I haven’t quite decided on yet but it will be for his own good, of course.

Apart from Cambridge parkrun, my next race is the Bonfire Burn 10k in Histon on November 2nd and then the St. Neots half marathon on November 16. Following that my next half marathon will be Cambridge in March 2015. This race is always sold out quickly but somehow our seven strong family have all got a place. Yippee!

 

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Visited Saffron Walden in the week and made a beeline for my favourite Oxfam second hand bookshop. RD Lang is always thought provoking  even if you were never sympathetic towards the anti psychiatry movement in the 60s and 70s. The book on angels is very readable with lots of good pictures. Such an attractive concept, alongside the existence of God and eternal life.